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Portrait of a Life Bird

I'm back from a weeklong visit in Virginia with my folks. I had been hoping to catch the peak of warbler migration, but I either overshot or undershot the window of opportunity, or possibly both. The southern warblers were already in place on their breeding grounds (and, like so many warblers on their breeding grounds, difficult to see and impossible to photograph), while the northern ones were nowhere to be found except for Yellow-Rumpeds.

However, my mother and I had a great two-day trip to Cape Hatteras, where I got to experience spring shorebird migration, and found three lifers. Here's one of them.

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Lesser Black-Backed Gull had eluded me for almost six years. This is an Old World gull that winters along the east coast of North America. (Specifically, the Iceland population winters there.) Each winter we get a few of them in Ottawa. But the drill is always something like, "go to the Trail Road landfill, get out your spotting scope--oh, you don't have a spotting scope? Sucks to be you."

So imagine my surprise when I walked out on the beach and this fellow was right in front of me, as tame as can be!

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Even when he flushed, it seemed more out of annoyance than fear, and he only flew ten feet away before carrying on with his business. Maybe he was just worried I would steal his lunch of mole crabs.

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The crashing wave caught fire in the sunset and made for a rather dramatic shot. I call this one "confidence" :-)

For ilanikhanVirginia Highlights